Blogging: When the Mind Goes Totally Blank

mind

I did not check but this probably one of the longest mind being blank when it comes to blogging.

Working 7 days a week including working up to 10 at night on the weekdays sure pulls the energy from the mind. Somehow, I still force myself to take a late night shower (I have tried but I could not bring myself to bed without a shower…it simply feels too “sticky”) and sometimes put the clothes for washing.

Then it is off to the bed and wake up again at about 6.30 am (without alarm) after the alarm goes off at 5.45 am, 5.50 am and 6.00 am (I am rarely aware of the time I switch off the alarm on 3 separate occasions).

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Prepping in Malaysia Part 4

Now that the GE13 has ended and Pakatan had settled the issue of the Menteri Besar in Selangor rather peacefully (thank God!), probably it is a best time to go back to our daily routine and one of it would be on prepping.

Read these first:-

canned food

(The canned food in the storeroom. Having enough food and clean drinking water for the family draws the highest priority on my prepping list but of course looking for storage place without it is left on the open is fast becoming an issue – I blame this on housing developers not having basement as a standard house designs in this country. It’s time to be highly creative with storage)

The world did not end last year but it was not the end of prepping as we moved over to 2013. We still had sporadic water disruptions although it was not that bad at my residential area – the water supply resumes the same day although some of my colleagues still had water disruption for days. We have yet to hit the big one on natural disasters including solar storms and global wide pandemic. On the other side of the coin, the recent general elections went rather peaceful and things soon got into a routine just a few days after it had ended although politicians are keeping the fire up the wrong issues for their own political reasons (appointment of the “once banned, once running fugitive” Hindraf’s Waytha as a Deputy Minister and uninspiring Cabinet Ministers however could be good reason to be concerned). So the panic purchase of essential goods before the elections did not happen although I did see more people with extra rice bags in their shopping carts this time around.

There have not been that many changes to my own level of prepping at home other than rearranging some of the storage and cleaning out some of drawers to keep more things.

We now have at least two 10 kg bags of rice on “standby” – when we use one up and pour the load into a separate rice container (which holds about 15 kg of rice), this bag is quickly replaced with a new bag. We had stocked up more on salt, sugar & cooking oil (even since the local store ran out of sugar one day) – all that we use in our daily cooking and always in demand. Storage of the canned food now includes bottles of sauce for spaghetti (my wife nowadays cook them for dinner). I have also added couple bottles of honey – which will come handy if we run out of sugar and of course does not have any expiry date. Air-tight containers (recycled from long titbits containers) are a good way to store spices and other small items – containers are easily stacked up. Instant noodles remains one of the more essential items in the store-room and have a drawer on its own and we now 00include dry noodle packets – it’s cheaper and flexible enough when it comes to cooking them. We stick to the principle of “storing what we eat and eat what we store” – this is to ensure stored food does not expire and we always the “latest” food stored.

One key thing that has improved greatly compared to last year is the understanding among family members on the need for prepping – so they all help out whenever they can when it comes to prepping. Prepping is no longer “sounds Greek”. No more weird looks when I talk about prepping. Family members do their own sundry shopping and whenever possible, now adds to the number of items in the “prepping” storeroom. This of course puts more strain on the available space so we had to be more creative in storing. Despite the rearranging things in the storeroom, squeezing every little bit of space, it is clear that we are running out of storage fast – the renovation of my kitchen (we hoped to get plenty of storage space once done) had to be kept on hold as we have not finalised the contractor, design & the budget.

And when it comes to storage, we also have non-food items to content with – spare batteries, candles, water filters, toiletries, garbage bags and washing items. My son’s room had the space and with a large cabinet in one corner with some old clothes and non essential items taking up precious space, it was time for another round of house-keeping. We threw away 1-2 bags of old DVDs from my collection and at least 3 large bags of old clothes (this one will go into the neighbourhood recycle bin) – we had cleared enough space to store our bathroom essentials – packages of soap bars, tooth pastes, tooth brushes, shaving blades, etc. At another corner, washing essentials – floor cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, tiles cleaners – all kept in place with proper ventilation and far from reach of children. And just like anyone running a storeroom anywhere in the world, inventory checking is a must and we often do that before month end and before we prepare the next month’s shopping list. It also gives us the chance to check on the expiry dates, condition of the items in the storeroom, rotate or use them accordingly and work out the quantity in the storeroom.

Next on the item is drinking water. There is still no rainwater harvesting system in place but this year (thanks to the water leaking into the bedroom), we managed to fix the leaks up at the roof and the water tanks. We can now be assured that we will always have at least full water tank in place should the water supply disrupted without notice. The two 15 litres containers for drinking water remains unchanged – I thought of adding another container but space in the kitchen is at a premium. So I decided to maintain the large raw water drum in the storeroom with a planned replenish cycle of 6 months. There are no plans to add any new water drums / containers until perhaps after my kitchen have gone through the overdue renovation (I already can imagine one corner to stack up with water containers – actively used for drinking and cooking).

When it comes to prepping, one cannot run away from the concept of bug-out-bag or as some would call – “mobile prepping”. I thought I have a reasonable bug-out-bag which I bring along when I go out to work or on long distant journey. My version of the bug-out-bug is not extensive although I want it to be – most of the items are stored in the house instead of the bag. But the more I think about it and as more prepping is done at home, it is clear that my bug-out-bag still has a long way to go before it is considered a bug-out-bag is sufficient enough to sustain for the next 72 hours. So I decided to re-designate it as more of a “get-home” bag (with key things – food, water, utility knife and clothes) than a proper 72 hours bug-out-bag. Work on a proper bug-out-bag have to take a back seat for the time being although I have the right bag for it (tucked away somewhere).

There is still outstanding work to be done namely on improvement of safety and trying to grow own vegetables in our small garden to minimise costs. We tried it before with chillies and tomatoes but the vegetables that we grew did not do well after attacked by pests. We still have 7 months to go before end of the year, so there’s still time to get things done. Perhaps with a mini greenhouse for the plants. For those who have not think about prepping, there is always time and opportunity to start this. We should have “always be ready” mindset so that when the tough gets going, we should always have Plan B lying around somewhere.

To be continued and happy prepping…

Birthday Cakes

[This post is a bit overdue]

What is a birthday without a birthday cake, right?

My son celebrated his 2nd birthday twice this year (a record sort of in my family) – one was in Taiping and another when we came back home. It has been some time since that function but as I was running through my photos, I realised that even the decorations on the birthday cakes has come a long way since my childhood days.

In those days, cakes were pretty much standard, there were not much decorations on the top and plenty of cherries on the side. Sometimes there were not enough cherries on the cakes, so every one of us will be “fighting” for a piece.

(The cake in Taiping – Spiderman, Doraemon, Mickey Mouse and Garfield made courtesy call to the birthday party. By the way, those “snow covered houses” was edible)

These days, the thing that what is worth fighting for, among the kids, is those decorative toys on the top of the cake. The toys on my son’s cakes were quickly snapped up even before my son had a chance to hold them (not that he wanted to – he is busy with other things). Doraemon seems to a favourite with the bakers in Taiping and Puchong – it was on my son’s cakes on both occasions.

(The cake at home – Doraemon was there, so did Pikachu. Not much on the cake – perhaps it is due to the size too)

The cake in Taiping had a more generous decoration compared to the one at home. That should give you some idea of the cost of living between the 2 areas (the size of the cake also mattered).

I wonder what more will be on the cakes in future.

My golden rules on computing

(Glasbergen’s cartoon says it all – cartoon source: http://www.glasbergen.com/)
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Definition of a computing – an act of operating & using a computer (I guess soon the word “act” may be need to replaced with the word “art”)

A number of my relatives & friends asked me a lot of things on computers – perhaps because I work in an IT industry or because they are just not sure on how it works and what is needed to use it effectively. Quite a number are just afraid to use it (one example is my Dad).

This is my 10 rules on computing based on what I have encountered so far:-

1. Home computer is for games, games, games and games. Ya, sometimes you can use it for internet surfing, listen to music or doing monthly home budget (rarely) but never, never for office work. Why? This is because you will end up playing solitaire instead of doing the office work. Trust me; it has happened to me like 1,000 times now

2. Surfing the hardcore porn site in the office is extremely prohibited but surfing it at home is excusable (especially for the first timers). When I first hooked internet to my home PC and told my friends about it (years ago), the first thing I got from them was a list of the “best” porn sites.

3. Computers are not like a “good bottle of wine”, getting better as it gets older – upgrading of hardware & software is part and parcel of computing. These days, the technology is moving so fast that fast that a brand new PC can be obsolete in the very next week.

4. Don’t stare at the computer screen the whole day (even if you are staring at Aishwarya Rai’s picture on the desktop). It is not good for the eyes. Take a short walk often – to be away from the computer but not to extend of going for long break to have “teh-tarik” downstairs.

5. Two background applications must be running in your PC all the time when you are surfing the net – anti-virus & firewall. I am surprised to know that there are people actually surfing without even a basic firewall – their excuse: “I only check my email mah”. I am currently using avast for home anti virus and zone alarm firewall – all is free & legal to use too

6. Hard-disc is not like our stomach that “grows” while we eat more & more. When the hard-disc is full, it is full. Period! So, always do house-keeping – uninstall unused applications, burn critical data into a CD and clean-up the “ever-growing” music library. My target always been to maintain at least 50% of free space in my hard-discs

7. Have you heard about this word – “Backup”? Ya, most of us will be aware of it only after our hard-disc has given up on us when we need it at the most critical hour. For sure at that time, one of our colleagues will pop in and ask “Never backup ah?” I keep a small folder of my personal files in the house PC and also on my pen-drive.

8. Try buying a PC magazines once in a while to catch up with the latest trend, tips and news on computers. It only cost about RM10.00 per month and comes with a free CD bundled with trial software. Alternatively, surf PC related websites such as PC Magazine or PC World for similar knowledge. Once you have done that, you can now show off your knowledge at the office or at a relative’s house and be called a “PC expert” in return.

9. Prolong the life of your PC by switching off the PC when it is not in use. This is evident when using the office PCs – most us take for granted that it is “not our PC” to take care and leave the office PC switched on. Only once I saw smoke coming out from one ex-colleague’s PC which was left on for almost a week (my friend took long leave and conveniently left the PC on with all applications running!)

10. When you hit a problem with the computer, don’t be quick to call the Helpdesk. Try to diagnose the problem first and try out several options (shutdown and restart the PC will be a good start). Sometimes, the solution can so simple that someone from Helpdesk will be cursing you when he had found out where the problem lies

This had happened to me once; I got a call from my ex-boss saying that her monitor went dead and asked me to check it. After checking the PC for a minute or two (and after I walked down 5 floors to her office), I found the cause – she forgot to switch on the electricity for the monitor.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Software)